Butcher Block Countertop

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Hi. I am putting a hard rock maple countertop in my deli. I found what seems to be a good supplier that has good prices for unfinished 1.5" countertops. I had a couple of questions/comments if anybody cares to lend a hand.
First, here are the dimensions of what I need:
- 36" x 15 ft. - 36" x 5 ft. - 24" or 25" x 4 ft. - 12" x 14 ft. - 12" x 11' 8"
1. Can anybody recommend (email?) someone who makes quality counters at a good price? 2. Only the 36" x 15 ft. piece is going to have food contact, so I was going to use mineral oil for that one. The others are either for checkout or for customer seating and I though I'd use a poly or other nice finish. Any comment? 3. Should I seal the end grain with paint or other? Some of the end grains will be visible, so I'd like to use something that is durable and looks OK, like maybe a clear sealer. 4. Some of these pieces will be joined together in an L shape. I was thinking of putting L shaped plywood down first, and then laying the two pieces on top of that. Then I could drill into each piece from underneath the plywood. I'm not sure if this will give me the best, most seamless fit (probably not). Any suggestions here?
Thanks for any help, dwhite
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I got mine from Grainger. $200 for a 30x72x1.75
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Is that for hard maple? That looks like a great price. I looked around for Grainger but couldn't find anything. You're not talking about the equipment supply Grainger, are you?
Thanks, dwhite
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Yup, they call it a workbench top
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see http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/productdetail.jsp?xi=xi&ItemId11774389&ccitem
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http://www.lumberliquidators.com /
Great prices

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Thanks Greg, Rob and Lawrence. I'll check into those sources before buying yet.
dwhite

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I didn't want an oil finish on my counter so I liberally washed the Edsal top I got from Grainger with mineral spirits and put down a bunch of coats of poly. It came out a rich honey oak color with good grain definition. The wife was happy. I am about a year later now and it is holding up very well under pretty harsh use. When it does finally get banged up I will hit it with my belt sander and finish it again.
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I looked through Grainger and it doesn't look like they carry custom sizes. I need a pretty big piece and would rather not piece small ones together. I have to get some mineral oil and test the samples I have to see if it is attractive enough like that.
thanks, dwhite
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If you're going to clearcoat the rest why not sand a couple grits finer on end grain and use same material? Samples for sure.
On Wed, 08 Sep 2004 18:39:16 GMT, "Dan White"

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That seems best. I just didn't know if there was more to sealing end grain than I thought.
dwhite

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wrote:

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On Wed, 08 Sep 2004 18:39:16 GMT, "Dan White"

Because the plywood will be more dimensionally stable than the maple I think you will be in trouble with this plan. Be sure not to fasten your tops solidly or they may crack as the temp/humidity changes (DAMHIKT). For the L I would use the cross bolt type connectors they sell for joining countertops. Can't think of the exact name right now.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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countertop (like a Mills Pride type countertop corner) or just the L shaped flat brackets?
dwhite
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On Thu, 09 Sep 2004 19:34:15 GMT, "Dan White"

bolt through to pull them together.
Like this: http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/product_details.cfm?&offerings_id49&objectgroup_idr&catid "&filter=cross%20bolt
Tiny version: http://tinyurl.com/5kmu7
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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wrote:

OK. I'd have to cut the hard maple myself to do this. They only supply the raw block. The supplier recommended I drill holes where needed and connect the two pieces of counter with dowels and wood glue. That sounds easier if I can be careful enough to drill holes that allow the pieces to come together evenly.
dwhite
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wrote:

Dan, is there any chance you can find a local woodworker friend to help you with this? It's not difficult, if you've done it before, and have a few of the right tools. However, you can screw up some expensive maple, and maybe draw a little blood, if you don't take the right precautions.
I'm not at all certain that dowels are the route that I'd take. Clamping might be an adventure for the inexperienced and/or person with insufficient clamp inventory.
Patriarch
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"patriarch snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcastDOTnet>" <<patriarch> wrote in message wrote:

Well, the only thing about the dowelling that I wasn't sure of is getting a tight seam without a clamp. The L is 15' on one side and 5' on the other, so that's joining the 5' piece crosswise (3') to the long one, so I'm not sure how I'd clamp it anyway. Do they make 8' clamps? I've used the clamps you showed on a Home Depot laminate top where I had to join 2 - 8' mitered tops. I wasn't happy with the result. It didn't seem to pull the pieces together well enough. Part of the problem is that I had to set the counter pretty close to where it was going to be, and it was hard to really get a good reach on the bolt. That sounds lame, but I couldn't join 2 8' pieces upside down and then move them into place, unless maybe I had several guys who could keep it from flexing apart in the process.
I don't really know a woodworker who could add those recesses although I am hiring a carpenter for some other work. I could probably do it actually if I had to. I have a router and have cut keyholes in soft wood in the past.
Of course, if you are in NJ, you're welcome to give it a try for handsome remuneration, of course! :)
thanks, dan
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<snip>

Two things: 1) I don't do this for money. Takes the joy out of it, and I'm not that fast. And 2) I'm a California boy, 5 generations worth on one line, 4 on another. It's been a long time since I was in Jersey, and it's not in the schedule, right now anyway. Otherwise...
Yes, they do make 8' clamps. Actually, they can be longer. Black iron pipe, usually 3/4" OD, in my case (although it is rumoured that Michael Baglio recommends using 1/2" ;-)) can be had in lengths up to pretty much 'more than you can carry'. And threaded and coupled, too. The pipe clamp heads won't set you back more than the cost of a good pastrami sandwich each.
Since one side of this countertop is going to be hidden from the public, underneath the counter, cleats can be temporarily attached to that side with good screws, allowing some additional, not 8' long, clamping points.
If dowels are your choice, purchase or fabricate a simple doweling jig. One of the problems with dowels is that they are simple to get wrong. A jig helps avoid that. A self-centering jig really helps that. Your carpenter may have one. A good, old-school hardware store, one that's been around since maybe the '50's, almost certainly would. ShopNotes probably ran 5 feature articles on how to make one from baltic birch plywood.
Let me think about how to cut the keyholes with a router. There's a way to do it safely and easily. If someone else doesn't jump in, I'll have something more for you tomorrow evening.
Patriarch
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On Fri, 10 Sep 2004 23:34:23 GMT, "Dan White"

The advantage to the connectors over dowels is that you can get them snug, then adjust the joint before finally tightening them. I've done butcher block counter tops without glue, but if you want, a layer of Gorilla Glue would probably be helpful. I wouldn't use anything with a faster set time. To join two 3' pieces in an L I would use at least 3 and probably 4 of the connectors, but realize that all any type of connector is doing is holding alignment, the actual joint must be cut accurately and the alignment must be assured in the positioning of the tops. If one is slightly higher than the other or something you will *never* get a good joint.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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